BARLAAM AND IOSAPH, Persian Belawhar o Būdāsaf, a Greek Christian or F. C. Conybeare, “The Barlaam and Josaphat Legend in the Ancient Georgian. Barlaam and Josaphat, the story of the renunciant prince and his holy Christian teacher, was popular for centuries, translated from Georgian to. Tis modern parables to me. From thy instruction mount. Was Barlaam. truly Josaphat,. And Buddha truly each? What better parable than that. The unity to preach.
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Barlaam and his convert St. Josaphat is a curious link between Christianity and Buddhism, since part of the story is unmistakably now that Buddhist sources are available in the western world an account of the early life of the Buddha. Although this would not have been obvious when this tale of two saints was circulating, in Greek and Latin versions, in the Middle Ages.
The story is thought to have been composed by John of Damascus in the 6th century AD.
It also appears, in abridged form, in the Golden Legend of Jacobus de Voragine. The attempted seduction of St. What does this have to do with Richard Wagner? Wagner had a version of the story of Barlaam and Josaphat, in one of the books that he left behind him when he had to leave Bwrlaam in haste in This was a German translation made by Rudolf von Ems about The details of his life-story are slightly different, but in broad terms similar, in Indian, Ceylonese and Barkaam texts.
The main difference here is that, in a prologue to the story, an astrologer predicts barlaqm the newly-born Josaphat, son of King Avennir, will be a follower of the Christian religion, which at that time was being persecuted by Avennir.
Obviously the events of the Buddhist scriptures have been brought forward by about years, so that in this version they take place after Christian missionary activity has begun in India.
The young prince is brought up in ignorance of old age, sickness and death; but eventually finds out about their existence during excursions from the palace. In the Buddhist versions, his father finds a wife for him at this point, but the Christian version leaves the prince unmarried.
The young prince becomes a convert to Christianity. After unsuccessfully attempting to dislodge him from the new faith by various stratagems, his father King Avennir receives a visit from the sorcerer Theodas, who offers to help him. On the sorcerer’s advice, the king replaces the prince’s male attendants with beautiful women as Shakyamuni’s father also does in the Buddhist version. Theodas sends an evil spirit into Josaphat’s heart to inflame him with lust. The women flirt with Josaphat but fail to seduce him.
The young prince attempts to convert her to his new religion, to which she responds that she will only convert if Josaphat will marry her. Josaphat tells her that he has taken a vow of chastity. Joaaphat nameless maiden tells him, if you want to save my soul, grant me one little request: Josaphat prays and receives a vision of heaven.
Barlaam and Josaphat: A Christian Tale of the Buddha | U-M LSA Romance Languages and Literatures
He rejects the temptress, and is attacked by evil spirits. Josaphat destroys them by making the sign of the cross. The name Josaphat has been derived from Bodhisattvaone whose being is illumination.
It seems entirely possible that Wagner had this story in mind when he made his first sketch for Parsifal.
The sorcerer Theodas became KlingsorJosaphat became the act 2 Parsifal and the beautiful baraam the act 2 Kundry. It could be argued that Wagner based his scene directly on a Buddhist version of the story, perhaps never having read the Christian version.
Two elements weigh against this hypothesis. One is the common emphasis on chastitytypical of medieval Christian literature, but less important in the Buddhist versions. The other is that Josaphat concludes the struggle with the agents of Theodas by making the sign of the cross. It would have been typical of Wagner to go beneath the surface of the sources he first encountered, and by he had almost certainly read several versions of the life of the Buddha.
In none of these, however, does the Buddha make the sign jospahat the cross! It seems so out of place that most “modern” productions simply but unwisely ignore Wagner’s stage directions at the end of this act:. Kundry ist schreiend zusammengesunken. He has swung the Spear in the sign of the Cross; the castle collapses as in an earthquake.
The garden withers to a desert; the ground is strewn with faded flowers. Kundry collapses with a scream. Barlaam and Josaphat he story of Barlaam and Josaphat closely follows, with barpaam, the story of the youth of Gautama Shakyamuni, the future Buddha.
Barlaam and Josaphat
Josaphat sees a cripple while returning to the palace. King Avennir and his sorcerer Theodas watch from uosaphat battlements. Illustration from a edition of Barlaam und Josaphat.
Parsifal and Kundry nd so the Buddha became a Christian saint, and even received a feast-day, 27 November. It seems so out bxrlaam place that most “modern” productions simply but unwisely ignore Wagner’s stage directions at the end of this act: This page last updated changed style sheet Mon 24 Dec The Seduction of St.
Josaphat he tale of the hermit St. English translation of Barlaam and Josaphat from the Greek text. Wagner’s Dresden Library now at Haus Wahnfried contains an example of the same edition number 8 in Westernhagen’s catalogue.